Perhaps we prize these views so much because they are so fleeting. Whatever the case, here are some of the best places to see the fall colors in and around Asheville.
1. Blue Ridge Parkway
On a crisp, clear fall day, you can see for 50 miles. Take in the array of colors, which differ based on elevation. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ensures you will see the full array of autumn hues. Asheville has four main entrances to this iconic roadway:
- US Highway 70 and Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 382.6
- US Highway 74A and Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 384.7
- US Highway 25 and Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 388.8
- NC Highway 191 and Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 393.6
Each of these is close to Asheville hotspots, like Biltmore, the Outlets, and the North Carolina Arboretum, so be sure to save time before or after your drive to explore!
2. Biltmore Estate
One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC
The Biltmore is an awe-inspiring, 8000-acre estate built as the vacation home for George Vanderbilt. The expansive grounds are the perfect place to view fall colors, and you can tour the spectacular seasonal displays in the beautifully maintained gardens. While you’re there, take a peek inside “America’s largest home” and sample wonderful varietals at the Biltmore Winery. All in all, the Biltmore makes a perfect backdrop for a stunning fall day.
3. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
45 Mitchell St, Bryson City, NC
Located about an hour from Asheville, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad chugs through the most stunning scenery in Western North Carolina. Get ready for an authentic and lovely railway excursion. Our advice: upgrade to first class and enjoy a delicious menu and personalized service. Rest assured, though: in Crown, Coach, and Open-Air classes, you will still witness amazing sights (and yummy boxed lunches!).
4. Asheville Hot Air Balloons
Meeting Place: Starbucks in Ingles Supermarket, 1572 Sand Hill Road, North Carolina Mountains, NC
Ready to take your leaf-peeping to new heights? Asheville Hot Air Balloons offers a next-level experience. You can book a trip to view incredible fall colors and dramatic mountain vistas. While it is a pricier option, it is certainly one that guarantees indelible memories that you will treasure forever.
5. Take a Hike
All Over Asheville and Western North Carolina!
Looking for a low-cost way to enjoy fall colors? Take to the hills. Asheville and its environs offer a number of stellar trails, and you are sure to find options that fit your needs, ability levels, and interests. Try:
Rough Ridge on the Tanawha Trail: This 1.2-mile hike takes you through rare mountain flora (stay on the trail, please!) and gives you outstanding views of the surrounding landscape.
Beacon Heights Trail is another short and sweet trail for those who love those autumn colors.
Craggy Gardens Pinnacle: Another short hike, this 1.2-mile trail culminates in a jaw-dropping 360-degree view. You’ll see plenty of colors, as well as dramatic rock formations.
Mountains-To-Sea Trail at Craven Gap: A more lengthy climb, the 4.8 trail affords you a great glimpse at Asheville’s mountain scenery. Learn why we’re known as the Land of the Sky - and walk in the footsteps of President and Mrs. Obama, who hiked here in 2010!
Hard Times Loop: It sounds hard, but the 6 mile Hard Times Loop is mild. Despite its gentle nature, you’ll find some of the best color, as well as views of the mountains, Lake Powhatan, and the Biltmore.
Mount Pisgah: Lace up your boots, this is a strenuous hike at 2.6 miles but it is Asheville’s most famous mountain.
See more great Asheville hiking trail options here.
What do you do after you’ve spent a terrific day viewing fall’s colors? Don’t worry: just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean Asheville is any less exciting. Our city is home to a host of exceptional restaurants, breweries, pubs, clubs, theaters, and venues. Grab a bite to eat, stroll Downtown, shop at our eclectic businesses, and then find yourself at Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar. Our all-request format is guaranteed to provide memories that will last forever - even if the gorgeous foliage lasts but a few weeks. We’ll see you there.